Website maintenance is incredibly important for security. In a report by Sucuri, poor maintenance accounted for most of the compromise and hacks associated with content management systems. While most WordPress website administrators simply setup websites and never care about the maintenance thereafter, this a very important task that should not be taken for granted. By running regular maintenance tasks, you can make sure that your WordPress site is always performing at its best. In this article, we will share what we think are the most important maintenance tasks you should be carrying out and how to do each of them.
How often should I perform WordPress maintenance tasks?
If you run a busy website that handles a lot of traffic then every 3 months is the best timeframe to carry out maintenance tasks. If you run a smaller website then every 6 months will the suitable.
Change all your WordPress passwords
Passwords are your first defence against unauthorized access to your website. You should always use strong unique passwords for all your online accounts including your WordPress website, FTP accounts, and database.
However, even if you are using strong passwords and they are compromised, then it is possible that you wouldn’t even notice it. That’s why WordPress security experts recommend changing your WordPress passwords regularly.
Create a complete backup of your website
Backups are one of the most important WordPress tools in your arsenal. There are plenty of great WordPress backup plugins that can help you completely automate the WordPress backup process.
However, sometimes your backup solution may suddenly stop working without you even noticing.
Once in awhile, you need to manually run your backup plugin to create a complete backup of your website. After running the backup, you need to verify that your backup files are properly stored at the remote location of your choice.
Test all your WordPress forms
It’s possible that, due to a misconfiguration on your WordPress hosting server or your email service provider, sometimes your WordPress forms may suddenly stop sending emails. You need to check all forms on your website to make sure that they are working properly.
Optimize your WordPress database
WordPress stores most data in your WordPress database. It contains all your content, comments, users, and settings.
However, over time your database may gather a lot of unnecessary data. This increases your WordPress backup sizes which may affect uploading, downloading, and restoring backups.
Optimizing your WordPress database allows you to clean up clutter, defragment tables, and improves database performance.
For a more in-depth guide on how to do this, head over to https://freshsites.co.uk/how-to-easily-optimize-your-wordpress–database/.
Run a performance test
Many users optimize their WordPress performance when they first start and then forget about it. Meanwhile, you keep adding new content, install new plugins, or may even change your theme. All of them may affect the performance of your WordPress site.
Faster websites are not just good for user experience, they also improve your website’s performance on search engines. This is why you need to regularly do a thorough performance review of your website. When reviewing your site’s performance, don’t just limit it to improving your homepage. Also, test your most popular content and all your important pages.
Check and update all your WordPress files
WordPress comes with a built-in system to manage updates for WordPress core, plugins, and themes. You should always use the latest version of WordPress and keep all your plugins and themes updated.
However, there are some situations when you may miss an update. To manually check for updates, go to the WordPress Updates page. Have a look at all your plugins and themes to make sure you’re running the latest version.
Check and delete spam comments
Once in awhile, you need to take a quick look at the spam comments to ensure that there are no real comments incorrectly marked as spam.
Once you are done, you can safely delete all spam comments from your website.
Find and fix 404 errors
When a user requests a page that doesn’t exist on your website, then WordPress will show them a 404 error page.
404 errors that occur because a user mistyped an address are normal and nothing to be worried about. However, 404 errors that occur because a page is no longer available can cause bad user experience.
Optimize images on your site
Images take longer to load hence they decrease your page load speed. Some of them you’ll discover during the performance checkup of your site. However, you will definitely miss those in your less popular articles. If you run a multi-author WordPress site, then some of your authors may not be as careful about image sizes as you are.
Adding image and media library review to your WordPress maintenance checklist, allows you to stay on top of the issue. You can perform this check to find out images that can be reduced in size or images that are just too large.
Find and fix broken links
As your website grows, you will realize that some external websites that you linked to in your older articles do not exist anymore. Some may have moved to new locations, while others may just disappear. The broken links issue is not just limited to external links. You can accidentally add broken images, poorly formatted links, or misspell your own links. This causes bad user experience and affects your site’s bounce rate and page views.
You will need to check your website for broken links as part of your WordPress maintenance routine.